Automakers need more functional plugs, as busted EV chargers may limit widespread adoption of the vehicles.
That has opened an opportunity for a new charging maintenance industry.
ChargerHelp CEO Kameale Terry was named one of Insider's 100 People Transforming Business in 2022.
Automakers are pouring billions of dollars and investing their entire futures on majority-EV lineups over the coming decade. But convincing drivers to shift from owning a gas car to one that requires charging is tricky. And if a driver makes that switch and finds themselves at a plug that doesn't work, it could confirm all their fears about EV ownership.
EV drivers in need of public chargers often have a hard time even finding one. When they do, it's not uncommon that the charger isn't working. Sometimes the plug is damaged, the payment won't process, or the station's been vandalized. And if it's the only charger on a driver's route, they face the possibility of winding up stranded.
While automakers have focused on getting EVs into customer hands and charging outfits are concerned with getting plugs in the ground, there hasn't been much attention on maintaining them once they're live.
Startups like ChargerHelp stand to move in on that opportunity.
The two-year-old Los-Angeles based company is developing an electrical workforce across the country to be able to come to the rescue and fix broken chargers when called.
"The biggest area of opportunity today in this space is customer experience," said CEO Kameale Terry, who was named one of Insider's 100 People Transforming Business this year. "As we look towards mass adoption and a mass shift, we need so much help on just improving that experience."
How bad is the problem?
For EV drivers living in multi-family dwellings or apartment buildings, charging at home isn't always an option. They have to rely on plugging in at work, or at a public station. Even those who do have plugs at home still depend on the public charging network on longer trips.
And according to a J.D. Power US EV experience study, customer satisfaction with public charging dropped in 2022 from last year, even as more charging stations came online. The study found that operability and maintenance were key issues.
ChargerHelp has been expanding its services across the country to help charger owners keep their public stations up and running. Its team of technicians can be deployed to a station to address broken hardware, fix network issues, or diagnose software problems.
Terry expects offshoots of her company to pop up, and actually welcomes competitors, though there aren't many yet. She says it's crucial not only for encouraging EV adoption, but also for ensuring the EV transition comes equitably.
"One of the things I've always appreciated about the industry is that we do talk about equity," Terry said. "My fear is that we won't see how it's not just talking about it or throwing money here. It is a bigger shift."
Read the original article on Business Insider